HEAD and neck cancers are responsible for over 4,000 deaths a year in the UK, figures from Cancer Research UK state.
There are different types, including mouth, voice box and those affecting the thyroid gland.
Throat cancer is a head and neck cancer and the charity states that most of the time, symptoms of the illness are similar to much less serious conditions.
However, there are over 12,000 cases a year, so it’s important to know the signs of the disease.
While you might associate throat cancer with just having a sore throat, expert say there is one sign that you can hear in your voice that could lead to a diagnosis.
Experts said that a change in your voice is a key sign of the disease.
If this happens, the way you speak might sound different, for example you might have a croaky voice.
When you have throat cancer, your voice box (larnyx) could be affected due to it being connected to the rest of pharynx (throat).
Your voice box sits just in front of your hypopharynx which connects the oropharynx and nasopharynx to the start of the food pipe (oesophagus) and the windpipe (trachea) via the voice box (larynx), the experts said.
The medics added that the voice box is the part of the throat that contains your vocal cords.
As we breathe in air, this passes through the vocal cords and makes a sound.
When we swallow, the epiglottis closes to prevent food and liquid entering the airway, allowing the food to pass into the oesophagus or food pipe, medics explained.
The charity said that there are eight other symptoms you need to be aware of.
- ear pain
- a sore throat
- a lump in the neck
- difficulty swallowing
- unexplained weight loss
- a cough
- shortness of breath
- a feeling of something stuck in the throat
The experts explained that cancers that start in the head and neck area, including the throat, the tongue, the nose and the ears, all fall under the general heading of head and neck cancer.
They explained: “Most head and neck cancers are squamous cell cancers. Squamous cells are flat, skin like cells that cover the lining of the mouth, nose, larynx, thyroid, and throat.
“This type of cancer can spread to lymph nodes (also called lymph glands) in the neck.
“Sometimes, the first sign of cancer that a person notices is a swollen (enlarged) lymph node in the neck.”
The main treatments for throat cancer include radiotherapy, surgery, chemotherapy and targeted cancer medicines, the NHS states.
Your treatment plan will depend on the stage of the cancer.
If you are concerned about any of your symptoms you should make an appointment with your GP.
In the event of an emergency, always call 999.